Today’s post is going to be about EDUCATION (from latin “educare” lead out which means bring out or develop something latent or potential ). While writing I’m thinking of my students of 5E who’ve just started their senior year and next year after taking their A levels will fly away and go to University where I always hope they’ll be able to fulfill their dreams. But I also think of my freshmen who have just started their High School and are full of expectations for their future that I’m desperately trying not to fall short of. Nevertheless I cannot help thinking of my school years long time ago when school was so different as technology almost didn’t exist (not even the Tv in class!) but at the same time so similar to the present one since some methodologies haven’t changed much 🙁
I’d like to start with The best speech ever (I know this statement is biased!) by Steve Jobs. Some of you may already know it otherwise it’s worth listening to it and see the script below. Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged Stanford graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks (sconfitte) including death itself, at the university’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005. This speech has made history. Transcript of Steve Jobs’ address: http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html
The reason why I love Job’s speech is the fact that it sounds genuine, tugging at my heartstrings and focuses on the positive, on overcoming personal difficulties and never give up pursuing our own dreams, something that sometimes the educational system fails to do. I find it very hard to accept when a student of mine fails and quits school. It should never happen. When I mentioned above the kind of conservative methodology in our school system I meant what you’ll see explained in the next video, a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s (Royal Society of Arts) Benjamin Franklin award.
TASK 1: While watching take down some notes on issues you agree/disagree with.
I find it brilliant and couldn’t agree more. We are now dealing with the Digital Generation and cannot continue teaching the way we did years ago! Do you agree with any of his ideas? Discuss with your partner.
Now, you’ll ask yourself: so what? where may that new paradigm of education lead to? How can we change the way schools work?
First I’m going to show you some photos of my ideal classroom, the “Subject” classroom, my “English” classroom, my dream deferred. These photos were taken some years ago (2012) in Sacramento California during a school exchange I had organized.
Do you think I will ever have the pleasure of “welcoming” my students in my own space where I would hang my posters & students’ artworks, display lots and lots of books you could all USE & SHARE without bureauctratic complex procedures, a space equipped with computers/iPads/ Interactive board, with a lovely soothing music in the background when needed … ? am I asking too much? The quality of the teaching and learning experience would increase dramatically and all the “dead times” now used to rush from one room to another or sign useless papers or book the Tv would be devoted to preparing the materials for the following session, setting the technological devices or speaking to the students who need it. This is my dream so far 🙂 Would you join this class?
Going back to a more pragmatic matter, a new way of teaching and learning implemented and experimented in the USA is THE FLIPPED CLASSROOM a powerful approach to teaching that helps “students to become learners who can learn for themselves and by themselves” by flipped classroom pioneers Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann (2011) “In this model of instruction, students watch recorded lectures for homework and complete their assignments, labs, and tests in class.”
Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in maths and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script, give students video lectures to watch at home, and do “homework” in the classroom with the teacher available to help.
The pros I see in this system are:
- it has truly individualized learning for students who can now move at their own pace, and they can review what they need when they need to.
- since students watch most teacher lectures at home and are receiving instruction as homework, they can spend class time working through any gaps or misunderstandings around the content with the teacher acting as “guide on the side.”
- it makes it easier for students who may have missed class to keep up because they can watch the videos at any time.
- learning is centered around the student, not the teacher
TASK 2: After watching the video I would like you to reflect on the provoking topic and find out what the cons of this system could be. No system and methodology is perfect and works with all students and in all circumstances but I believe that it is my duty as a teacher to constantly look for “new” ways of reaching my students & find a balance between the use of technology & a humanistic approach.
Last but not least. A great source of interesting video is the website TED: IDEAS WORTH SPREADING (also an iPhone or iPad application) where you can see those videos with subtitles and also read the whole script. Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education
Thanks for your attention! cimy